02 November 2012

Windy #nlpoli

Anyone with half a clue knows that you cannot develop a reliable, efficient electricity system built on type of generation only.

You need a mix so that the advantages of one type offset the weaknesses of another.  All hydro is hard to do if you need steady supply because it tends to vary with the water flow.  Wind is even worse for that.  Oil and coal are good for steady supplies but they tend to be expensive, dirty or both.  Natural gas is very cool, especially these days, because not only is there lots of it but it is very inexpensive and can deliver electricity pretty much on demand. 

Only in Newfoundland and Labrador do we have access to trillions of cubic feet of natural gas already found, trillions more likely to be discovered, and a provincial government that doesn’t want to develop it because the natural gas is not expensive enough to use. 

So then they look at all sorts of other import scenarios and the thing gets farcical.

But that, as they say is another story.

Let’s look at the recent report on wind generation issued by the provincial government as part of its ex post facto rationalization campaign for Muskrat Falls.  They came up with a completely preposterous scenario – 75% of electricity from wind – and only in an isolated island scenario and pronounced the idea silly

Well, of course, something that is silly on the face of it is silly.  Garbage in.  Garbage Out, as they say. Just remember:  Nalcor did not ask any of its consultants to design a generation system or challenge Nalcor’s fundamental assumptions about Muskrat Falls.  

Meanwhile, in Prince Edward Island, they are actually making money from wind generation even though the city of Summerside is losing money on exporting electricity.  It’s an interesting study in contrasts.